MSG Varsity announcer Keith Irizarry recounts call that's become overnight sensation
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"This has been insane," Keith Irizarry said, not quite 25 hours after narrating a piece of video that has become the talk of the sports world. "I thought I did some things that were pretty big. This is monstrous."
It happened Sunday afternoon -- a buzzer-beater to beat all buzzer-beaters, in which Khalil Edney of New Rochelle scored from about 55 feet to shock Mount Vernon, 61-60, in the Section I Class AA boys basketball final.
What made the play so unusual for Irizarry as MSG Varsity's play-by-play man was that after Edney inbounded with 2.9 seconds left and Mount Vernon up 60-58, the ball ended up in the hands of Mount Vernon's Devonte Banner, and it appeared the game was over.
"Edney tosses it, it's knocked around, and Mount Vernon is going to hold on and win!" Irizarry said.
But Banner tried to run out the clock by lofting a high pass. It wasn't high enough. Edney grabbed the ball and flung it toward the basket and in. "But hold on one second, oh, goodness!" Irizarry said. "Are they going to count that?"
Initially the officials did not, then they did. Replays showed they were correct; the ball left Edney's hand with a tenth of a second on the clock.
During the ensuing confusion, Irizarry and his partner, Kevin Devaney Jr., struck a balance between conveying the excitement in the arena and trying to sort out what was going on.
"Mount Vernon was about to win, then they didn't win, then the refs said they did win, then the refs changed their minds and said they didn't," Irizarry said. "During that 45 to 60 seconds, it was my job to keep my cool and explain everything that was going on."
The MSG Varsity announcers had a girls game to work afterward, but when they were off the air later, Irizarry said he turned to Devaney and asked, "So, was it good?" meaning their performance, not Edney's shot.
Irizarry said his partner responded, " 'I think so. But I don't know what I said.' I told him I wasn't 100 percent sure what I said, either. I just knew we both said [the basket] counts."
MSG Varsity, whose parent company is Cablevision, which also owns Newsday, had four angles, two of which have been widely replayed, along with that memorable call.
"You don't know what you're going to say until you get into a situation like that," Irizarry said. "But I do think I handled it well, because it was a difficult call."